I Don’t Know

I bring the children to the stage each Sunday morning where I preach. The Kids On Fire experience is a favorite part of our time together. I have always displayed a Power Point slide while they are stage. Last week, one of the kids asked why the screen said, “Welcome” on it. I asked, “Do you know what welcome means?” He said “No.”


We take so much for granted. You would think every 7-year-old has heard of the concept of “welcome.” He was observant enough to know there was a new word on the screen. He just didn’t know what it meant.


His experience begs the question, “What else don’t my kids know about?” Life is full of skills that we take for granted. You will find that the weekend before you send your children to college, you will panic about all the things you never taught them. Why not get started now?


Are you still ordering drink refills for your children? Even before they are too short to reach the counter, send them with their own empty cup to ask for a refill. It will teach them how to ask for what they want and it will teach counter help to look below the top of the counter for customers.


After your children learn how to ask for what they want, why not let them order their own food at the table? Instead of spending all your time trying to get them to tell you what they want, let them look at the waiter or waitress and tell them directly. It will speed up their response time by light years and it will help them improve their communication skills.


Don’t forget other everyday tasks like mailing bills, writing thank you notes, picking up after themselves in the car and tending the flower beds. Don’t send them out like slaves to work for you; go with them to show them how to pull weeds while they are still young enough to want to be helpers. If you wait till they are teenagers, they won’t be nearly as excited.


Teaching your children how to function in a complex world is part of parenting. Let them ask you about words on signs while you drive. Explain what certain businesses offer as you drive by. If they don’t ask, you can ask them. Ask, “Do you know what a deposit is?” Then explain how you have to put money into the bank before you can take it out. It will open the door to demonstrate how to save money, even in a piggy bank. Teach them how to make their own deposits and you be teaching them several skills at one time.


Families are beginning to travel everywhere wearing headphones or watching a video monitor on the back of a car seat. This isn’t teaching and it certainly isn’t parenting! If you want others to teach your children all the skills they will take to college with them, stay in your own world and let the video screens and games play. If you want an intelligent, functioning individual to launch from your household someday, you’ll need to get busy teaching!


It will also improve your relationship, overall. Won’t that be a nice touch?

Dr. Matt Crain writes weekly for the Sunday newspaper from his Connecting Fathers and Families ministry.